Conference ‘Social policy in the European Union: state of play 2021’
Zoom, 14h-16h30 (CET)

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While the EU institutions are preparing to return to ‘some kind of normal’ as regards the EU’s economic governance – thereby marking the gradual end of the exceptional pandemic period – the International Monetary Fund’s most recent World Economic Outlook refers to the continued grip of the pandemic on global society.  Despite the EU having reached a first dose vaccination rate of close to 80%, the new Omicron variant sparked global alarm: populations across the continent continue to suffer the social, political, economic, and psychological consequences of the pandemic.

Against this background, this year’s Bilan social analyses the impact of the pandemic on various socio-economic groups and economic sectors throughout 2020 and the first half of 2021 and tries to answer the question “who are the winners and losers of the pandemic”? This includes the discussion of the allocation between the Member States of unprecedented economic support measures which broke a major taboo: the issuance of common EU debt. The Covid-19 crisis has led to a paradigm shift regarding the extent to which the Member States are willing to coordinate vis-à-vis health threats, but will this be sufficient to pave the way towards the ‘stronger European Health Union’ championed by the European Commission? At this first webinar launching the book, we will also look at the recent developments in the European Semester, and examine whether the introduction of the Recovery and Resilience Fund has changed the power balance among key players (e.g., financial and economic players versus social affairs players).

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Welcome and introduction: Philippe Pochet (ETUI) and Bart Vanhercke (OSE) 

We are not (at) all in the same boat: Covid-19 winners and losers Download here the presentation

Michael Dauderstädt (independent researcher)

The EU response to Covid-19: breaking old taboos? 

Francesco Corti (Centre for European Policy Research-CEPS and University of Milan) Download here the presentation

Q&A with the audience

Session chair/moderator: Slavina Spasova (OSE)

Break [10’]

Covid-19 as a catalyst for a European Health Union: recent developments in health threats management 

Thibaud Deruelle (University of Lausanne) Download here the presentation

Are (some) social players entering European recovery through the Semester back door?

Amy Verdun (University of Victoria, Canada) 

Q&A with the audience introduced by Bea Cantillon (Center for Social Policy, University of Antwerp), Marco Cilento (European Trade Union Confederation, ETUC), Maria Teresa Fabregas (European Commission’s Recovery and Resilience Task Force, SECGEN) and Scott Greer (University of Michigan and LSE Health)

Session chair/moderator: Bart Vanhercke (OSE)


Slavina Spasova and Bart Vanhercke (Editors)

EN-FR interpretation available.